Amex Blue For Business Vs. Business Gold Rewards Card: Which Is Better?

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Update: This offer for The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express is expired. Learn more about the best available offer here.

At the moment American Express has two limited time sign-up bonuses on two great business cards — The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express. While I’m not sure about the end date on the Business Gold Rewards Card offer, the Blue For Business Card offer ends on February 22, 2017, so you only have about two weeks left to apply.

In this post I wanted to compare the two offers, for anyone trying to decide between them.

Why you should consider one of these offers

Regardless of which card you apply for, there are a few reasons to consider applying for one of these Amex business cards:

Comparing sign-up bonuses & annual fees

The Amex Business Gold Rewards Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. The card has a $175 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. That’s a pretty straightforward sign-up bonus. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that bonus is worth ~$850.

The sign-up bonus on the no annual fee Amex Blue For Business isn’t quite as straightforward, though has the potential to be extremely lucrative:

  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after making your first purchase on the card within the first three months
  • 10x points at U.S. restaurants on the first $2,000 in purchases for the first six months
  • 2x points on all qualifying purchases on the first $50,000 for the first year (an additional one point per dollar spent)

On top of that, the card offers a 30% annual points bonus calculated based on the base points earned the previous year.

This card won’t be for everyone, but if you’re someone who could spend at least $50,000 on non-bonused spend and $2,000 on dining, this sign-up bonus is worth an incremental 64,600 Membership Rewards points, by my math. That’s a massive bonus, especially for a no annual fee card.

How did I come up with that number?

Winner: If you don’t spend a lot on credit cards, the $5,000 of spend is easier to reach on the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card. However, if you’re someone who spends at least $50,000 per year on non-bonused spend, and $2,000 on dining, the incremental bonus on the Blue For Business Card is 64,600 Membership Rewards points, which is great. So both of these offers are great, but it just depends on how much you spend.

Comparing return on spend

The Amex Business Gold Rewards Card offers bonus points in the following five categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

You can pick in which category you want to earn 3x points, and then in the other four categories you earn 2x points. For each individual category you can earn 2x or 3x points for at most $100,000 in purchases per year.

Meanwhile the Amex Blue For Business has no annual fee, so it doesn’t have bonus categories in the same way. However, it offers a 30% annual points bonus, which means you’re essentially earning 1.3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. Also keep in mind that in the first year you earn double points on the first $50,000 spent, meaning you’re really earning 2.3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent during that period.

Winner: Long term the Business Gold Rewards Card offers a better return if you spend a lot in bonus categories. However, earning a flat 1.3 points per dollar spent on everyday spend after the first year on a no annual fee is a pretty great option as well. So again, it all depends on your spend pattern.

Bottom line

Both the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card and Amex Blue For Business are extremely compelling cards for different reasons. In general:

  • Applying for an Amex business card is a great option, because it doesn’t count towards your Chase 5/24 limit, a rejecting won’t hurt your credit score if you’re an existing Amex cardmember, and the cards are generally easy to be approved for
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card offers a big bonus if spending just $5,000 within a few months, and long term offers some great bonus categories
  • The Blue For Business Card offers a great sign-up bonus if you spend a lot in non-bonused categories, and earning 1.3 points per dollar spent on a no annual fee card is pretty good

So I see value in both. Personally I recently applied for the Amex Blue For Business, though am still waiting for my approval to hopefully come through.


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Comments

  1. The Blue for Business bonus offer boils down to 24.6k bonus for $2k in restaurant spend (subtracting out 3x of the 10x for opportunity cost of not using CSR), which is still pretty good for a no AF card. However, the problem is that no AF AMEX cards have less value, since holding on to it long term eats up one of your precious 4 (or 5) AMEX CC slots. I did get the Business Gold recently, but will almost certainly cancel after the 1st year.

  2. Timely post! I was debating between the 2 and went with the Blue for Business. I was thinking of applying for the Business Gold Rewards as well, but decided to hold off and focus my spending on Blue for Business (I believe this is as good as it gets for this card?) and maybe wait for a higher bonus to come around for Business Gold (75k??).

  3. I just applied and was approved for the Blue for Business. I think it’s the most underrated business card out there even after the first year. It’s especially great for those with limited bonus spending.

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